How to Deal with Disagreement Between Children

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Essay for Foundation Degree in Early Years

How to deal with disagreement between children

Babies (0-2 years)

Even babies can disagree, for example they can start to cry when their mother or the nursery nurse take another baby. We can teach the baby how to deal with emotions, gently speaking to them, explaining with simple words how they could be patient. For example, we can say: “Wait a moment darling, don’t be upset, I am coming to you after 2 minutes”. Small children (about 1 year old) can also start fighting, and refuse to share (games, colors, etc.). The teacher can – even in this case – explain how it is important to share, with simple words: “Good boy/girl! We share, we play together… we are friends!”.

Toddlers (2-4 years)

Disagreement is a good sign, because it means that the child is becoming independent. Every person has a different personality. Even pre-school children can start to say: “No”, sometimes creating conflict with another child. An useful tactic can be “expand the choices”, meaning giving the child another game, or asking him if he wants to do something else, etc. It is better to give a child attention when he is behaving well, than punish him for bad behaviour.

Children (3-7 years)

We can teach the child to understand other points of view, asking for example how he thinks the other child involved in the disagreement is feeling. It is helpful to encourage directly one of them to tell the second one: “Sorry” and vice versa.

Young people (+7 years)

Children learn how to deal with conflict by watching adults’ example. Disagreements between adults should be handled in a mature way, with all parties involved taking turns listening and talking, possibly without screaming. As kids go through puberty, they may disagree between adults and other young people about many things. It is important to reassure the child, but also be firm about which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

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